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My top 5 business books - Melissa's recommendations

Jun 30, 2022

Anyone that knows me knows that I love to read.  And I read widely; about 50/50 fiction/non-fiction and I love real books, audio books and my kindle - the more ways to access books the better in my view.

I often get asked for recommendations, particularly when it comes to the workplace.  So here are my current top 5 although I reserve the right to change and adjust this at any time!

1. Mindset by Dr Carol Dweck

This is the book I most recommend.  I first came across this book about 13 years ago.  I read it and immediately bought the audio version for my husband to listen to (he prefers audio).  There is a reason why this book continues to stay in the most recommended business books and can be found in almost any airport bookshop.  It covers much more than business of course.  In fact 13 years ago I had toddlers so the biggest impact immediately was my parenting and how we spoke about effort to our kids.  I then got really curious about experimenting with growth mindset in the workplace and for over 10 years I have introduced this, tried out different ways of practically bringing this theory into life within the workplace and of course continuing to identify when fixed mindset thoughts arise in myself.  It's not a massive book and it's a great read.  It is a book that can change the way you look at the world.

2. Dare to Lead - Brené Brown

I've been a big fan of Dr Brown's work on vulnerability for many years.  One thing that has really stuck is that the only way for true connection is through vulnerability.  This book takes her body of work and looks at it through the lens of how we lead at work.  How often do leaders feel like they are meant to have all the answers and be uber-confident whereas in fact showing up with curiosity and vulnerability is actually more effective.

3. Drive - Daniel Pink

This is a fantastic read and my favourite of all his books.  The stories and research are compelling and breaking down motivation in autonomy/purpose/mastery has stuck with me.  Also the fact that often our "systems" in the workplace meant to motivate people are shown clearly by the research to be less likely to drive performance especially in roles that require innovation and creativity.  This is a good one.

4. Think Again - Adam Grant

To be perfectly honest Adam Grant could write about the history of toilets and I would read it.  This is his best in my view and is all about challenging ourselves about what we hold to be true.  Again, he has fantastic stories and compelling research.  I think this is a book everyone should read.

5. The Fearless Organisation - Amy Edmondson

Okay it's tough trying to work out what book goes into number 5 (think there might need to be another post for the next 5.  But this one is a book I read earlier this year and goes deep into psychological safety at work.  There is so much evidence that demonstrates how critical this is for performance and I am glad it's a topic getting more and more airtime.  This is a book I listened too and before the end of the first chapter I ordered the hard copy as I knew I wanted it to easily refer back to.

So enjoy!  If you have these 5 books on your shelf/kindle/phone then you're on a fantastic journey of learning and challenging yourself and your workplace.